- Ensure the child is ready to write (can they draw kisses correctly?)
Encourage lots of large motor and fine motor movements such as climbing and cutting with scissors.*
- Teach how to make the letter shapes
Use single letters with exit strokes and ensure the child knows which movement group each letter belongs to. Teach by demonstration and observing the children’s practice. Young children can make their letters in sand, paste etc before using pens or pencils.
- Teach capital letters and use for names, e.g. Oliver
Capitals are as tall as h, l, b etc and do not join to the other letters in a word.*
- Write letters on a single line
The tails of g, p, etc should hang below the line.
- Teach the relative size of letters
Give the three sizes names: attic (h, b, etc), room (a, e, etc), cellar (g, y, etc) or sky, grass, underground.
- Show how words need a small space between them
Please do not use a finger as a spacer – a lolly stick or piece of card is better. *
- Teach how to join the letters
At this stage omit joining after g, y, j, x, z.*
- Encourage writing at increasing speed
Introduce loops to y, g, j to increase fluency, and make other individual modifications.
- Encourage self evaluation of handwriting using the ‘S’ Factors
These are sitting, size, shape, spacing, slant, stringing (i.e. joining) and speed.
* Only proceed beyond the star if the earlier stages have been understood and are used in practice. Stage 6 is probably better addressed in Year 5 or above (age 9/10).
Alongside the above
Encourage good habits of posture and pen hold (‘P’ checks). The dynamic tripod is a very efficient way of holding a pen/pencil (pen held between forefinger and thumb with the third finger behind) but it does not suit all children. Comfort and ease of movement are more important.